US Open third round: Justin Rose eyes second title after Yorkshire’s Danny Willett sets early target

JUSTIN ROSE trails Gary Woodland by a single shot heading into the final round of the US Open after watching the American defy the odds to remain in pole position at Pebble Beach.

Lasting the pace: Justin Rose waves after his putt on the eighth.

Woodland chipped in for an unlikely par on the 12th and holed from 40 feet for another on the 14th, but Rose maintained his focus to birdie both holes as he seeks a second US Open title following his 2013 triumph at Merion.

Rose also birdied the 18th from a greenside bunker for the third day running to complete a 68 and finish 10 under par, with Woodland 11 under after carding three birdies and a solitary bogey in his 69.

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“What I was pleased about was the tougher the shot, the better I seemed to play, and I’ll gain a bit of confidence from that tomorrow,” said Rose.

Leader: Gary Woodland reacts after missing a putt on the 18th.

“I’ll do everything I can overnight and just keep what’s working well and try to hit one or two more fairways and greens. You can’t force it, you’ve got to let it happen and hopefully rely on some experience.”

World No 1 Brooks Koepka, who is aiming to become just the second player to win three consecutive US Open titles, is four shots off the lead alongside former Open champion Louis Oosthuizen and American Chez Reavie, with Rory McIlroy another stroke back.

Koepka, who carded a flawless 68 and has not dropped a shot since his eighth hole on Friday, is seeking a fifth major title in his last nine starts and said: “I just enjoy the pressure of having to hit a good golf shot or make a putt when you need to.

“Going into tomorrow, just stay patient. If you are within three shots on the back nine, anything can happen, so hang in there and keep fighting.”

McIlroy had wanted to plot a “boring” course to a second US Open title and got largely what he wished for, carding three birdies and two bogeys in a round of 70.

“Even though I’m still a few off the lead, it’s a wonderful opportunity for me to go out there and I guess try to add to my major tally,” said the Northern Irishman, whose last major victory was the 2014 US PGA Championship.

“I’ve been very pleased with how I’ve played all week. I felt, for the most part, today I did the right things and I need to do 18 more holes of that, but just get a little bit more out of the round tomorrow than I did today.

“I’m expecting the conditions to be similar, but I could see the course just getting a little firmer and a little faster and just being a touch trickier.”

The European quintet of Danny Willett, 2010 champion Graeme McDowell, Jon Rahm, Matt Wallace and Henrik Stenson are seven shots off the lead on four under.

Sheffield’s Willett had set the early clubhouse target on four under, the former Masters champion carding six birdies and two bogeys in a round of 67, the lowest round of the day and his first sub-par round in 16 attempts at the US Open.

“The last few years the US Open has been a bombers’ paradise so this course evens out the field in that way,” said Willett.

“It does not favour any one type of player, so at the end of the week you are going to get the best player winning, as it should be.”

McDowell, who eagled the 18th from 35 feet in his round of 70, said: “It was really cool to make three there.

“I think Tiger (Woods) did something similar in 2010, from memory, hitting that three-wood from behind the tree. Mine wasn’t as fancy as that. It was a nice little cutty three-wood from 245 slightly to the right and came off nicely.

“Obviously I’m somewhat in the mix tomorrow, but I’ll need something pretty special.”

Willett’s fellow Yorkshireman Matt Fitzpatrick carded a 72 to finish 10 shots off the lead.

Third round scores (USA unless stated, par 71, (a) denotes amateur):

202 Gary Woodland 68 65 69

203 Justin Rose (Eng) 65 70 68

206 Brooks Koepka 69 69 68, Louis Oosthuizen (Rsa) 66 70 70, Chez Reavie 68 70

68

207 Rory McIlroy (NIrl) 68 69 70

208 Chesson Hadley 68 70 70, Matt Kuchar 69 69 70

209 Matt Wallace (Eng) 70 68 71, Graeme McDowell (NIrl) 69 70 70, Jon Rahm

(Spa) 69 70 70, Danny Willett (Eng) 71 71 67, Henrik Stenson (Swe) 68 71 70

210 Adam Scott (Aus) 70 69 71, Xander Schauffele 66 73 71, Byeong-Hun An (Kor)

70 72 68

211 Francesco Molinari (Ita) 68 72 71, Dustin Johnson 71 69 71, Brandon Wu (a)

71 69 71, Abraham Ancer (Mex) 74 68 69, Scott Piercy 67 72 72, Nate Lashley 67

74 70

212 Hideki Matsuyama (Jpn) 69 73 70, Jim Furyk 73 67 72, Patrick Cantlay 73 71

68, Matthew Fitzpatrick (Eng) 69 71 72

213 Haotong Li (Chn) 71 70 72, Jason Day (Aus) 70 73 70, Tiger Woods 70 72 71,

Viktor Hovland (a) (Nor) 69 73 71, Marc Leishman (Aus) 69 74 70, Tyrrell Hatton

(Eng) 70 74 69

214 Jason Dufner 70 71 73, Alex Prugh 75 69 70, Shane Lowry (Irl) 75 69 70,

Sergio Garcia (Spa) 69 70 75, Billy Horschel 73 70 71, Nick Taylor (Can) 74 70

70, Rickie Fowler 66 77 71, Jordan Spieth 72 69 73

215 Carlos Oritz (Mex) 70 70 75, Paul Casey (Eng) 70 72 73, Rhys Enoch (Wal) 78

66 71, Martin Kaymer (Ger) 69 75 71, Webb Simpson 74 68 73, (a) Chandler Eaton

72 70 73, Tom Hoge 71 73 71

216 Rory Sabbatini (Svk) 72 71 73, Sepp Straka (Aut) 68 72 76, Aaron Wise 66 71

79, Harris English 71 69 76, Charles Howell III 72 70 74, Phil Mickelson 72 69

75, Billy Hurley III 73 70 73, Emiliano Grillo (Arg) 68 74 74, Collin Morikawa

71 73 72, Bryson DeChambeau 69 74 73, Erik Van Rooyen (Rsa) 71 73 72, Patrick

Reed 71 73 72

217 Daniel Berger 73 70 74, Adri Arnaus (Spa) 69 75 73, Andrew Putnam 73 71 73,

Tommy Fleetwood (Eng) 71 73 73

218 Andy Pope 72 71 75, Marcus Kinhult (Swe) 74 70 74, Brian Stuard 71 73 74,

Zach Johnson 70 69 79, Clement Sordet (Fra) 76 68 74, Kevin Kisner 73 70 75,

Rafael Cabrera-Bello (Spa) 70 74 74, Brandt Snedeker 75 69 74

219 Charlie Danielson 72 70 77, Kyle Stanley 71 73 75, Luke Donald (Eng) 72 70

77

220 Cameron Smith (Aus) 71 72 77, Chip McDaniel 71 73 76

221 Justin Walters (Rsa) 72 72 77

222 Bernd Wiesberger (Aut) 71 73 78

228 (a) Michael Thorbjornsen 71 73 84